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The International Geophysical Year (1957–1958) changed research on the aurora, one of nature’s most elusive and intensely beautiful phenomena, dramatically. Aurorae became the center of interest for big science of powerful rockets, complex satellites, and large group efforts to understand the magnetic and charged particle environment of the earth. The auroral visoplots displayed here provided guidance for recording observations of auroral display in a standardized form, translating the sublime visual aesthetics of aurorae into mechanical aesthetics of numbers and symbols. The possibility to combine hundreds of such observational data into a worldwide pattern was acknowledged as the decisive contribution of the IGY to the understanding of this phenomenon.